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Dive Review of Galapagos Aggressor in
Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Aggressor, Jul, 2005,

by Frank Zegler, CO, USA . Report 1900.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Palau, Chuuk, Alaska, Red Sea, CA coast, Cozumel, Yap, Fiji, Hawaii, new Zealand, Australia, BC, Yucatan, FL etc
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas currents, noCurrents
Water Temp 0 to 0 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 30 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 130 depth, 60 minutes
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments good if there is something to photograph

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments On our first trip to the Galapagos in Dec 2003 we had a chance encounter with a juvenile whale shark that was "out of season" so to speak. This encounter was with the folks from Scuba Iguana and after we had that experience and the previous week's diving on the Aggressor we swore we would return in the peak whale-shark season. That is what sent us back to the Galapagos in July 2005 on the Aggressor.

Prior to the week on the Aggressor we once again dove two days with Scuba Iguana and had four great dives at both Gordon Rocks and North Seymour. The Gordon Rocks dive reminded us of why we had returned- dozens of scalloped hammerheads at arms distance it seemed, tons of schooling fish, Golden rays, etc. N Seymour was better than our previous trip with up to five large whitetips in a single cave- literally dozens of individual animals. A manta at our feet on the safety stop. We were SO psyched to get on that live-aboard..... with these as day-boat dives the best surely lay ahead.

How wrong we were. Our good dive karma had apparently been exhausted and we spent the next week seeing very damn little despite driving all the way out to Darwin, Wolf etc. No whale sharks, a handful of hammerheads, NO whitetips at N Seymour ( two days later than the previous great dive). What was there? A bunch of very pissed-off divers who had just dropped 3-5 kilodollars each to see...well....nothing they couldn't have seen for a lot less money. We did see the odd dolphin- but not the hundreds we had snorkeled with 18 months before. And there were small groups of spotted eagle rays on a couple dives. Add to this a broken Zodiac which forced half the divers into an overcrowded inflatable tender. All in all it was a less than satisfying experience.

Perversely I dove Gordon Rocks with Scuba Iguana the day after we dove it with the Aggressor ( on which we had horrendous currents but saw basically nothing) and was surrounded by giant schools of half-beaks and barracuda with quite a few sea lions thrown in for luck.

The crew of the Aggressor was very hard working and tried to find those critters but it was a total failure. We asked if they had a "fish finder" on their depth sounder but apparently they don't. You would think that this simple tool would be handy for finding schools of fish that were paying $400/day to see. The other Aggressor boat saw ONE whale shark during this same period. Once we got back to shore we inquired about this "whale shark season" thing. We also asked about the other boats that were out there with us- the Lammer Law and the Skydancer. Well since they had longer and different itineraries they saw quite a few whale sharks as well as Ocean Sunfish and some sperm whale sitings. Grrrrrrr.

To what do I attibute this terrible trip to? Well there is something to say about being in the water early- which is what the Scuba Iguana folks do. With the traditional (and comfy) breakfast and first dive schedule on the Aggressor there is no way you can get in the water much before 9:00. The SI guides either have clairvoyant powers ( which I will accept given the results) or have a lot better local knowledge than the Agg boys do. We might have had a weird water condition- there was practically no current out at Darwin and the weather was balmy- we were expecting a lot more wind, colder conditions and more powerful currents- we understood that these were the conditions that were optimal for the big critters. We also suspect that as for hammerheads at Darwin we may be seeing the result of the extensive shark finning out there. There certainly were NO lobster ( well two but Im not saying where) and we saw exactly one sea cucumber during our entire stay. Those two species have been hunted to the last specimen by the "desperate" local fishermen (most of whom are hardly long-standing residents and are instead relative newcomers bent on making a better living than on the mainland no matter what the long-term consequences). We hear that since Gordon Rocks is rather close-in that there is less fishing pressure on it since you cannot hide your illegal boat so readily. Perhaps most importantly there are just fewer people in the water with the small day boats than with the big live-aboards. Certainly the bubble curtains released by 20 divers hanging on the rocks creates a repellant effect on the sharks- from what we could see.

In any event we intend to return just not on the Aggressor. Based on our discussions with local guides and guests it looks like the 10 day trips on the Lammer Law look best with the Skydancer also right up there. And we will be sure to go with Scuba Iguana too just in case.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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